We Believe | A Documentary About the Cubs' 2008 Season


 

This was the official website of the 2009 film, We Believe, about the Cubs' 2008 season. It documents that eternal bond between the team and the fans. Such prominent Cubs fans as Billy Corgan, Dennis Franz and Jeff Garlin were featured. The documentary is narrated by Gary Sinise.
Content is from the site's 2009 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

A Must See for all Cub fans!

 



We Believe Trailer 2009
WE BELIEVE celebrates the extraordinary love affair between Chicago and its Cubs. It is a powerful, passionate and uplifting film about America, family, faith, loyalty and tradition. First and foremost, We Believe is an entertaining movie, jam-packed with humor, heart, emotion and unique insight, and featuring super-rare and never-before-seen vintage footage (including the first-known film of a Cubs game from 1909 and of Chicago shot by Thomas Edison in 1897), amazing newly-shot images of Chicago and Wrigley Field, and an incredible soundtrack. It is a must-have film for everyone who loves their city and their team.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION

In December of 2007 director John Scheinfeld (“THE U.S. vs. JOHN LENNON”) and producer Tim McGuire met with Cubs officials to pitch them on the idea of doing a documentary film about the extraordinary love affair between the team and its fans. Although initially reluctant to participate in any film project, team executives were impressed by the work previously done by Scheinfeld and his team as well as the project’s overall creative vision. Within weeks they committed to participating in the production and provided extraordinary access to players, Wrigley Field and the team’s archive.

Production began in February 2008 when Scheinfeld and Director of Photography/Producer Richard Christian (Sedgwick Productions) flew to Mesa, Arizona to shoot Cubs Spring Training. The club gave them access to 8 starting players. 3 separate interviews were shot with each – one in Spring Training, one at the All-Star Break and one after the season was over. In this way, the filmmakers were able to secure intimate, in-depth interviews as in which they express their thoughts  on a wide array of topics. In the process, they reveal a side of themselves previously unseen by most viewers – they are caring, thoughtful, down-to-earth people.

 



"We Believe: The Movie" Director John Scheinfeld on The Interview Show (Part Two)

 

During the 9-month shooting schedule the filmmakers shot more than 220 hours of footage, including more than 14 games at Wrigley, The result is compelling and visually striking movie that showcases many neighborhoods within the city of Chicago, seamlessly blended with timeless and beautiful images of legendary Wrigley Field, including the nooks and crannies unseen by most people.

During the summer of 2008 in Chicago at Cutters, Editor/Producer Chris Claeys began screening the raw footage, meticulously logging each shot and making copious notes about how best to use the material. Once the season was over, Scheinfeld began writing the script. It took eight weeks to complete and then the editing process began. From December of 2008 through late April of 2009 Claeys and assistant editor Betty Jo Moore, in collaboration with Scheinfeld, assembled, edited, shaped and polished the film.

Throughout the production Scheinfeld and associate producers Robert Bader and Kathleen Ermitage cast a wide net to locate the rarest and most unusual audio/visual material for inclusion in the film. Film and photo archives around the country were scoured for material. Trips were made to our nation’s capitol where rare and unseen film and photos were found in the Library of Congress and National Archives. Local museums, ethnic libraries and neighborhood associations were also contacted.

Numerous visits were made to the homes of collectors all over the city who gladly contributed treasured photos, game programs and other memorabilia to the production. Important photos were supplied by the Chicago History Museum, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Wisconsin and the Marnan Collection. Among the many treasures this hunt uncovered is the first known motion picture footage of a Cubs game. Originally shot in 1909 it never appeared in any film and remained buried in an archive on the East Coast until it was discovered by the WE BELIEVE team. Another visual treat is color footage of a 1938 World Series game at Wrigley. Researchers also uncovered exciting Cubs game footage shot at Wrigley field in 1923, 1927, 1929, 1932 and 1935.

To personify the relationship between the city and team, a “Cubs Love Stories” promotion was organized with WGN Radio. In just 10 days over 500 entries were received from couples how they met at a Cubs game and how that meeting significantly influenced their lives. The contest winners, Sue and Chris Jones, are featured in the film. Additionally, there is a moving and emotional storyline devoted to Chicago singer-songwriter Steve Goodman, a man whose connection to the city and the Cubs was intensely deep. Die-hard Cubs fan Goodman is best known for writing the classic, “City of New Orleans,” a massive hit for Arlo Guthrie in the 70s and Willie Nelson in the 80s. His songs have been performed by Joan Baez, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson and Peter, Paul and Mary. At the age of 21 Goodman was diagnosed with leukemia and told he had only a few years to live. Amazingly, he beats death for 15 years. Prior to his death in 1984, Goodman wrote two songs expressing his love for the Cubs – “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” and “Go Cubs Go,” a song played at Wrigley Field after every home victory. More than anything he wanted to see the Cubs make it to the playoffs for the first time since 1945. What happened makes for a compelling and poignant end of his through-line in the film.

Spectacular graphic sequences were created by Chicago’s own Sol Design under the supervision of Neal Cohen. Highlights include amazing recreations of the devastating Chicago Fire of 1871 and the historic “Merkle Game” between the Cubs and the New York Giants in 1908.

In an effort to further involve the community in the production of the film, Chicago area musicians and bands were offered an exciting and unique opportunity to compete to have their original recording of a song about Chicago and/or the themes embodied by the film. “This film is about our community and the Cubs and we believe this competition will generate some interesting participation,” Scheinfeld said. “Chicago’s music scene has an incredible abundance of talent and we hope to showcase it,” he added. Cubs’ fans around the world began casting their vote online for their favorite song on February 28, 2009. The winning song, “Waltz in the Ashes” by Inchworm, was prominently featured in a segment of the film.

Another initiative instituted by WE BELIEVE is that Cubs fans around the world were offered an opportunity to include their own name or that of a loved one in the closing credits of the film. This is the cinematic equivalent of the classic bricks laid in front of Wrigley Field. A portion of the proceeds were donated to charity.

WE BELIEVE is a love story about Chicago and its baseball team and with every love story there is bound to be some heartbreak. So, without a big, happy Hollywood ending in which the Cubs win the World Series for the first time since 1908, the creative team rose to the challenge, employing Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic “Land of Hope and Dreams,” to drive the film to a powerful, emotional, inspiring finish. After all, it’s the journey that’s important, not the destination.” Chicago composer Steve Ford worked 24/7 to write a powerful original score for WE BELIEVE. It was recorded in his Clark Street studios by engineer Colin Sipos with talented local musicians (yes, LIVE musicians were employed in the making of this film!). Sound for the entire movie was then mixed and designed by John Binder of Chicago’s Another Country in time for the incredible World Premiere in June 2009 at the historic Chicago Theatre.

The production of WE BELIEVE is totally homegrown. Financing was provided by local Chicago investors who love their city and team. The Producers and production staff are Chicagoans, the film was shot by an award-winning Chicago production company (Sedgwick Productions), edited by the city’s finest editor at one of the city’s top post-production facilities (Cutters) and the Director/Writer/Producer is Chicago-born and a graduate of Northwestern University.

 

True Believers

See the premiere of "We Believe," a documentary about the Chicago Cubs By Wendy Wollenberg  Published Jul 14, 2009 / www.nbcchicago.com

True Believers

True loyalty knows no age limits.

Lovable losers or not, the Chicago Cubs have the most loyal fans in all of baseball. See the premiere of a feature film documentary outlining this long-lasting love affair at the Chicago Theatre on Friday, June 12. "We Believe: Chicago and its Cubs" is set against the 2008 MLB season, which just happened to have marked the 100th anniversary of the last Cubs' World Series win.

Director John Scheinfeld (who was also behind "The U.S. vs. John Lennon," a documentary about the musician's antiwar activism) plumbs the depths of the typical Cubs fan's psyche during "We Believe" in an attempt to explain the mystical attraction between Chicago and its Cubbies.

The film was produced with full cooperation from the team and Major League Baseball, the first theatrical documentary to be granted this authorization. The uplifting saga includes interviews with such Cubs legends as Ernie Banks and Ron Santo, current players and management and celebrity fans such as Hugh Heffner, Bonnie Hunt and Billy Corgan.

The premiere will take place at the Chicago Theatre at 10:30PM on Friday, June 12 and is sponsored by -- surprise, surprise -- Budweiser. Tickets are $6-$25 (way cheaper than bleachers seats).

 

FEATURING

Roger Baird – Head Grounds Keeper, Wrigley Field
Ernie Banks -- Cubs Legend
Al Bunetta -- Manager/Friend of Steve Goodman
Billy Corgan – Musician/Cubs Fan
Bob Costas – Broadcaster
Richard M. Daley – Mayor of Chicago
Ryan Dempster -- Chicago Cubs
Mark DeRosa -- Chicago Cubs
Dennis Franz – Emmy Award winning actor/Cubs Fan
Kosuke Fukudome -- Chicago Cubs
Denny Garkey -- Founder, Little Cubs Field
Judy Garkey -- Little Cubs Field
Jeff Garlin – Comic, Actor/Cubs Fan
Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Nancy Goodman Tenney – Wife of Steve Goodman
Jordan Grafman, PhD -- Senior Investigator, National Institutes of Health
Buddy Guy -- Musician
Hugh Hefner -- Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Playboy Magazine
Jim Hendry -- General Manager, Chicago Cubs
Bonnie Hunt – Actress/Cubs Fan
Chris Jones -- Cubs Fan
Sue Jones -- Cubs Fan
Crane Kenney -- Chairman, Chicago Cubs
Rick Kogan – Newspaperman, Chicago Tribune
Derrek Lee -- Chicago Cubs
Ted Lilly -- Chicago Cubs
Joe Mantegna – Tony Award Winning Actor/Cubs Fan
Cait Murphy -- Author, “Crazy ‘08” (“…the greatest year in baseball history.”)
Lou Piniella -- Manager, Chicago Cubs
Ryne Sandberg – Cubs Legend
Ron Santo -- Cubs Legend/Broadcaster
Bud Selig -- Commissioner of Major League Baseball
Matt Sinatro -- Coach, Chicago Cubs
Geovany Soto -- Chicago Cubs
Steve Stone -- Broadcaster
Ryan Theriot -- Chicago Cubs
Alan Trammell -- Coach, Chicago Cubs
Scott Turow – Best Selling Author
Fred Washington – Groundskeeper, Wrigley Field
Michael Wilbon -- Broadcaster/Columnist
Tim Wiles -- Baseball Hall of Fame
George Will – Author/Columnist
Billy Williams -- Cubs Legend
Kerry Wood -- Chicago Cubs

 



A film about hope, faith and Cubs fans

April 3 2009 | By Steve Johnson, TRIBUNE CRITIC | www.chicagotribune.com/

It would have been perfect.

The Cubs finally end the futility with a World Series victory in the season marking the 100th anniversary of their last series win. A film crew is there to capture it all, ready to transfer to the big screen the magical tale of faith long suffered and finally rewarded.

It would have been perfect, but it wouldn't have been the Cubs. Finishing the century season with the best record in the National League, they lost in the first round of the playoffs, three games to none. A film crew was there, anyway.

"Yes, we would have liked the great big happy Hollywood ending," says John Scheinfeld, currently putting the finishing touches on his feature-length Cubs documentary. "But as Bob Costas said to me when I interviewed him after the season, he said, 'You know, in many ways this is a more Cub-like ending.'"

The film, which will premiere June 12 at the Chicago Theatre, is called "We Believe," arguably the most detailed and ambitious of the Cubs documentaries that have been made to date. The words in the title will have to continue to carry the implied asterisk.

We Believe, In Spite of Everything.

We Believe, Though It Probably Would Be Easier If We Didn't.

We Believe, Aren't We the Fools?

Working at an editing company on North State Street, Scheinfeld -- who won acclaim for "The United States vs. John Lennon" -- has been cutting his movie since December and worrying, a little, about one question: "Given what happened in October," he says, "how do I end it in a way that people aren't going to want to go out and slit their wrists? I think I've found a way to do that."

He won't specify, except that he does plan to go out on Bruce Springsteen's "Land of Hope and Dreams." It surely helps that the film was never designed to be a season-in-the-life sports chronology. Instead, in the half-dozen segments I've seen during a couple of interviews, it plays like a valentine to the team, its city and the undeniably special relationship between the two, however maddening that may be to Sox fans.

"It's set against the landscape of the 2008 season, but it isn't really about that," Scheinfeld says.

So helicopters soar over Wrigley and Chicago. Cameras, which would gather more than 220 hours of footage, poke into the field's nooks and crannies. Vintage Cubs film gets new life. Frank Sinatra sings exactly the song you would expect, but, to Scheinfeld's credit, Ronnie Wicker and his exasperating wheeze will be nowhere in sight.

Bonnie Hunt talks about Chicago as "a giant Mayberry." George Will credits Chicagoans' capacity for optimism to their prairie location. Joe Mantegna wonders what would have happened if his parents had been Yankees fans instead.

To set it apart from previous Cubbie homages, there are also plenty of less well-known fans, local writers, the members of Cubs management who, along with Major League Baseball, approved the project. Scheinfeld interviews eight players -- Ryan Theriot, Mark DeRosa, Kerry Wood, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly and Kosuke Fukudome -- at various points during the year and gives each a sort of chapter.

And the filmmaker talked to Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis George, thinking he'd get some general thoughts on the nature of faith that he could tie to the Cubs in the editing room. Instead, he got the very specific thoughts of a lifelong Cubs fan who is, therefore, an expert on the subject twice over.

As he recounts that interview, in the same January week in which it took place, Scheinfeld has the glow of a man looking at a gold nugget in his pan:

"Cardinal George said it's not dissimilar to eschatological faith, which is sort of 'next year in Jerusalem.' It's sort of, 'Jesus will be coming back at one point.' He said, 'We know it's going to happen, but we don't know when.'"

In other words, wait till next year is as applicable in the pews as it is in the bleachers.

"We were skeptical at first," says Crane Kenney, the Cubs chairman. "John's first meeting with me, I just said, 'No way.' We took the position that we're not in the business of granting anyone access for movie efforts."

But Scheinfeld had local ties. He grew up in Highland Park to age 6, earned a master's degree from Northwestern's radio/television/film department. He and Kenney had friends in common. He had made, as the crowning project to date in a long career, the well-received Lennon film, and Kenney was impressed by the way Scheinfeld "developed Lennon as a full person, some negative, some positive, but certainly human."

The filmmaker wanted to make the movie in Chicago, working with local crews and a local editor, rather than be, as he says, "a Hollywood carpetbagger."

And he was persistent. Scheinfeld recalls pointing to a picture, mounted in Cubs offices, of early 20th Century Cubs fans in a tree trying to peer over the Wrigley wall. That's the feeling I want to capture, he told Kenney.

"What John did a great job describing was this wasn't really a movie about the Cubs," Kenney says. "He's exploring the unique relationship between the fans and the city and our team, with the heaviest emphasis on the fan."

As he said yes, Kenney says he had in mind that the Cubs "have been trying to shed this lovable loser image." A 90-minute documentary could help.

Raising money to make the movie was relatively easy. The budget is strong for a documentary, between $1 million and $2 million, Scheinfeld says. ("Lennon" cost about $2 million, but with many expensive songs.)

Another big chunk of the budget came later, courtesy of a fan's passion. Ryan Hegenberger is an owner of Big Picture Entertainment, an L.A.-area company that has done major-movie posters and trailers for the likes of Disney and Sony, charging in the vicinity of Scheinfeld's entire budget to do so.

He's from Connecticut, but his wife, from Lake Forest, turned him into a devoted fan of the Cubs (owned, like this newspaper, by Tribune Co.). Figuring they'd "probably need a trailer and poster," Hegenberger says, he started calling.

Scheinfeld figured he couldn't afford Big Picture, and let the calls slide, not realizing that the offer was to do the work for free.

"After much hounding," Hegenberger says, "I finally convinced him that we should give this a thought."

The plan is to try to get theatrical distribution first. But the big item is expected to be the DVD.

And if the Cubs actually do win this year, so much the better for the marketing campaign. Right now, the rough cut is done, and Scheinfeld plans to show it to the Cubs and Major League Baseball first, as a courtesy.

After that, it steps up to the plate, full of hope.

"If I do my job right, there will be a broad appeal to this film," the director says. "The other thing is there are Cubs fans everywhere. Everywhere."



 

An aside: Right off I will admit I am a Chicago Cubs fan even though I now live in NYC. When the DVD first was released it was really difficult to find. As of 2019 you can easily buy it on Amazon for $11.99! I loved reading the Amazon reviews. You can certainly tell who the Cubs' fans are.

About a month ago (this is now 2019) I decided to buy the DVD as a gift for my father who was coming to visit. I thought he would get a kick out of seeing it. The 2019 Chicago Cubs season was the 149th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 144th in the National League and the Cubs' 104th season at Wrigley Field. The Cubs this year ended the season in the middle of the National League Central Division. The Cubs failed to improve their record of 95–68 from the previous year and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Bummer. It was a crazy year with great wins and awful blowouts. And this will be Joe Maddons last year coaching the team. But if your a Cubs fan you know all this.

The evening my Dad and I were going to watch Believe I ordered short ribs take out, had plently of beer on hand, and lots of chocolate ice cream, along with salted nuts and other finger food. Considering that the documentary is only 20 minutes you might think this was over kill. But I had more baseball movies lined up that evening. Bull Durham (1988) with Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon, Moneyball (2011) with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, and The Natural (1984) with Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Kim Basinger, and Glen Close and finally Major League (1989). I figured that list would give him a good variety of baseball films.

We watched Believe first ( which he really enjoyed) and then started in on Bull Durham . Half way through the movie my dog decided that it was time to get a little attention by attempting to jump up on my father's lap or perhaps he was only interested in the short ribs!. All chaos broke out with a knocked over bottle of beer, short ribs and a beet salad on the carpet. My first thought was don’t let the dog eat the short ribs, the second was OMG how will I get the beet stain out of the carpet along with the beer and food. I called my neighbor who seems to know just about everything about how to find the best restaurants, the best grocery stores, the best haircut at the lowest prices and fortunately for me that evening the best local rug cleaning pros in NYC. She gave me the name of the Agara Rug Cleaning company. We cleaned up the mess as best we could that evening, finished Bull Durham and went to bed. The dog did get to eat the short rib that landed on the rug and was helpful in eating up some of the other food. She didn’t eat the beets! The next morning I called Agara. By that afternoon, I had a free estimate and the rug was taken away. Agara specializes in cleaning and restoring antique rugs, so I figured they probably would be able to handle my Mexican handwoven rug. Plus I like the fact that they use organic, environmentally friendly rug cleaners and Scotchgard protection. By the time was returned my father had returned to Chicago, but he would have been impressed with the returned rug. It looked great.

 



AMAZON REVIEWS

E. Dillenburg
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great if you're a fan; otherwise a bit of a mess.
June 26, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Let me start by saying I am a native Chicagoan and a life-long Cubs fan. If these two titles apply to you, then buy this film -- you won't be sorry!

But thinking how it might look to anyone else, I have to say, it's a bit of a jumble. The film is advertized as an examination of what it means to be a Cubs fan. We've seen this before: interviews with fans talking about tradition, loyalty, character, etc. And we get that here, and it's a bit better than most -- they they interviewed professional actors like Joe Mantegna and Bonnie Hunt, people who can speak coherently on-camera. Interestingly, they tried to tie Cub fans to the history of the city: the immigrants who flocked to Chicago to rebuild after the 1871 fire brought a work ethic and a can-do spirit that is reflected in the character of the city today, and in the nature of Cubs fandom. Well, maybe.

But as a result of this approach, parts of the film look like a travel promotion for the city. And while Chicago has never looked better, you start to wonder what all those beauty shots of the lakefront have to do with the Cubs. And the history of the city provided by the film is very abbreviated -- lots of important bits are omitted. It's like they came up with this great idea, but couldn't follow through.

Another thread in the film is Cubs history -- again, trying to tie this to modern fandom. Surprisingly, this is probably the weakest aspect of the film. They talk a LOT about the 1908 team, but don't even mention the 1906 Cubs, who set a record for winning percentage that still stands. Plenty on the championship teams of 1929-1945, but very little on the long dry spell of the '50s and '60s, when modern Cub-dom was born, and absolutely nothing on the brief respite of the Durocher years. And unless I blinked and missed it, I don't think there was any mention of the 1984 team that broke our 39-year postseason drought.

(Another glaring omission: the relationship with the White Sox, which is a huge part of being a Cubs fan, is reduced to a brief mention of the recent interleague play.)

So, it's a pretty messy mixture of the fan experience, team history, city history, and travel promotion, with a couple of digressions into Wrigley Field, Steve Goodman, etc. But then -- inexplicably -- they graft on a tribute to the 2008 Cubs: player profiles, interviews, season in review. From the standpoint of the film's theme, examining what it means to be a fan, this makes no sense at all. And from the standpoint of commemorating the 2008 team, of being a time capsule of the season, it is dreadful. They don't show you anything, not even the playoff loss -- they just mention that it happened.

So, a real mixed bag. I got the sense they were trying to do 2 or 3 different films, and spliced them all together. Still, despite its flaws, I think it makes a good effort at trying to understand the passion of the Cubs fans. If you can follow the many threads, and not get distracted by the sidebars, I think you'll find it interesting.

Unless you're a Sox fan. But then, you probably wouldn't be reading this review, anyway.

~~~

Ross Viles
3.0 out of 5 stars
Decent film, but could have been better.
December 30, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I was excited to see this being the lifelong Cubs fan that I am but was disappointed by this as well. The film touches on several key points but tragically misses several points and Cub teams that needed to be addressed, mentioned and remembered. For instance, the film does well to promote the dominant 2008 Cubs but makes no mention of the Cinderella 2003 team that came within five outs of the world series. There's also a very brief segment on Bartmann. I wish they had touched on that more. There's no mention of the 84 Cubs, no brief backstory on Harry Caray, very little about Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, and others who helped shape the team.

Instead, the film focuses a lot on non baseball events such as the Chicago Fire, the immigrants coming over, and a couple meeting and marrying through association with being Cubs' fans. While all that was interesting, I did not spend money on this DVD to learn about those things. It really felt like a history lesson at the time I watched it instead of what it was supposed to be about: The Cubs and their century long drought. I wish they had used that time to talk about all the great and memorable Cub teams that there have been instead.

I would still buy this but would recommend "Catching Hell" instead for history regarding the Cubs.

~~~

cubswin
4.0 out of 5 stars
Recorded after 2008 season
February 10, 2017
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Just finished watching. Good balance of the history of the Cubs and modern day. Liked the interviews and commentary. Pretty good pace, though got a little slow at times. A great documentary for any life-long Cubs fan!

~~~

ROBERT J CURRER
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thanks
October 5, 2018
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Great book

~~~

Leo V. Lane
4.0 out of 5 stars
Already A Believer.
November 21, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Part history of the city of Chicago Part history of the Cubs. Part overview of the 2008 season. All in all a very good film ......for Cubs fans. I don't think it will mean much to the uninitiated hence limiting the audience. However that being said, it was a good shot in the arm for the off season. Go Cubs Go!

~~~

Jan
4.0 out of 5 stars
Awesome!
February 1, 2017
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Wow I remembered all it covered. Awesome!

~~~

Shane W. Early
5.0 out of 5 stars
Cubs Fan Must Own Video
August 6, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
If you have loved the loveable losers all your life then this is the film for you. You'll cringe at times and wonder why you put yourself through this every year but at the same time know you are part of a group of people who choose to believe.

~~~

Lilliput
5.0 out of 5 stars
Are you a Cubs fan? Can't miss this.
March 2, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
What a wonderful DVD! This tribute to the steadfastness of Cubs fans' loyalty fuses Chicago history with Cubs history while showcasing Cubs personalities and fans' frank expressions of what loyalty really is. It documents the ups and downs of the "home team's" triumphs and frailties. A story that you'll watch over and over.

The Cubs Documentary … We Believe

April 1, 2010 11:05 pm By Neil | https://chicagocubsonline.com/

“We Believe” the documentary film about the Chicago Cubs that premiered last summer will be released on DVD on Tuesday, April 13.

Whether or not you are a Cubs fan, and chances are, if you are reading this, you are a Cubs’ fan. But, nonetheless, go buy the movie.

Making a documentary about the Cubs is not easy. Why? Because so many have been made. WGN and HBO dipped into the Cubs history recently, but “We Believe” directed by John Schienfeld, separates itself with two key aspects.  “We Believe” offers as much of a history of Chicago as it does about the Cubs, and the movie successfully intertwines the history of both as it explains how the Cubs brought people of various backgrounds and ethnicities together.

Secondly, the music chosen for the movie was nothing short of excellent. From Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen, the music adds even more to the emotion brought on by the story of the Cubs.

The movie’s mission is to follow the 2008 season and educate the viewer on the well-documented history of the Cubs. The movie did not sway from this direction. Most Cubs’ movies discuss 1969 and 1984 in depth, and more recently, 2003. While mentioning those seasons, there is extra time paid to those specific campaigns.

There was no shortage or current Cubs, ex-Cubs, journalists and celebrities interviewed in this picture.

Among those featured, in no particular order, are: Michael Wilbon, Bob Costas, Steve Stone, Ron Santo, Dennis Franz, Jeff Carlin, George Will, Joe Mantegna, Billy Corgan, Hugh Hefner, Scott Turow, Ernie Banks, Bonnie Hunt, Mayor Daley, Rick Kogan, Bud Selig, Crane Kenny, Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, Ryne Sandberg, Ryan Dempster, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Theriot, Alan Trammell, Derrek Lee, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto, Buddy Guy, Matt Sinatro, and Billy Williams.

So yes, there are a few decent interview subjects, and all of these interviews added an element, an emotional element. However, where this documentary differs from others is that is has a wide-array of “man-on-the-street” interviews, or better said, interviews with regular, every-day fans.

Sports documentaries can be celebrity-heavy, but “We Believe” incorporates the every-day fan in a more successful way than many films I have seen. Players and celebrities add a view, but a view that is sometimes hard to connect to, given that person’s place in life. However, we can all relate to the random man or woman who lives for this ballclub. And seeing his or her reaction and opinion regarding the Cubs is key to the film.

In regards to one particular interview, Bob Costas not only knows baseball, he understands Cubs’ fans and their plight. He was spot-on in all of his comments.

The cinematography was excellent. The views of Chicago and Wrigley Field were intertwined perfectly as the audience sees Wrigley from all angles and at all times of the day. The viewer is taken on a ride up Lake Shore Drive as the camera sits on the dashboard of a car going north to Wrigley Field. At another point, the viewer gets to ride on the EL south to Wrigley Field. While it sounds simple, this is a brief and tight way to show the journey to Wrigley while making it apparent that the journey is about being a fan, not just going to the game.

Between the interviews and the detailing of the 2008 season, “We Believe” touches on great stories. It discusses the personal journey Steve Goodman, the musician and creator of “Go Cubs Go,” and “A Dying Cubs’ Fan’s Last Request,” and a great Cubs’ fan.

The film covers the designer and builder of “Little Wrigley Field” in Freeport, Ill. Also, the film finally educates everyone about Fred Merkle! He is the man responsible for the last Cubs’ World Series victory … bad for him, but great for the Cubs.

So there you have it, the 2008 season, the feeling and responsibility of being a Cub, the emotion of being a fan, and some great history intertwined … and yes, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow does make an animated appearance.

If you like Chicago, if you like the Cubs, if you like baseball and if you like movies, I would suggest buying “We Believe.”

You will not be disappointed.

 



CAST BIOS

 

Billy Corgan
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional poet. Corgan is the vocalist and lead guitarist for alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins.

Bob Costas
Broadcaster, NBS Sports and Major League Network. Bob Costas has won multiple National Sportscaster of the Year awards (from the National Sportscaster and Sportswriter Association) and nearly 20 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports announcing.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley
Mayor Daley has earned a national reputation for his innovative, community-based programs to address education, public safety, neighborhood development and other challenges facing American cities. Time magazine, in its April 25, 2005 issue, said Daley "is widely viewed as the nation's top urban executive." A former state senator and county prosecutor, Daley was elected Mayor on April 4, 1989, to complete the term of the late Harold Washington, and was re-elected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 by overwhelming margins.

Dennis Franz
Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe Award-winning American actor known for his role as Andy Sipowicz, a gritty police detective in the television series NYPD Blue.

Jeff Garlin
American comic actor best known for his role as Jeff Greene, Larry David's manager on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Francis Cardinal George, OMI American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the eighth and current Archbishop of Chicago.

Buddy Guy
has received five Grammy Awards, 23 W.C. Handy Blues Awards (the most any artist has received), the Billboard Magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Guy is considered an important exponent of Chicago blues.

Hugh Hefner
sometimes known simply as Hef, is an American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.

Bonnie Hunt
Two-time Golden Globe and an Emmy Award-nominated American actress, comedienne, writer, director, television producer and daytime television host of The Bonnie Hunt Show.

Joe Mantegna
Tony Award-winning actor, producer, writer and director and star of the television series “Criminal Minds.” He is best known for his roles in box-office hits such as Three Amigos (1986), The Godfather Part III (1990), Baby's Day Out (1994), Forget Paris (1995), Up Close & Personal (1996), and The Simpsons Movie (2007).

Gary Sinise
Sinise, a Chicago-area native, is an Oscar-nominated, Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award-winning actor best known for his roles in “Of Mice and Men,” “Forrest Gump” and “Apollo 13.” The Director/Writer/Producer currently stars as Detective Mac Taylor in the series “CSI:NY.” Sinise recently received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the second actor to receive it, the other Elizabeth Taylor, and only 100 people have received this honor in history.

Scott Turow
Turrow is a writer and attorney who has written eight fiction and two nonfiction books, which have been translated into over 20 languages and have sold over 25 million copies. Movies have been based on several of his books.

Michael Wilbon
The longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.

George Will
Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative American newspaper columnist, journalist, and author. With more than 450 newspapers, a biweekly Newsweek column and appearances as a political commentator on ABC. Will may be one of the most influential writers in America.

 



 

Doc film taps Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and their fans

April 13, 2009|By Steve Johnson, TRIBUNE CRITIC

It would have been perfect.

The Cubs finally end the futility with a World Series victory in the season marking the 100th anniversary of their last series win. A film crew is there to capture it all, ready to transfer to the big screen the magical tale of faith long suffered and finally rewarded.
It would have been perfect, but it wouldn't have been the Cubs. Finishing the century season with the best record in the National League, they lost in the first round of the playoffs, three games to none. A film crew was there, anyway.

"Yes, we would have liked the great big happy Hollywood ending," says John Scheinfeld, currently putting the finishing touches on his feature-length Cubs documentary. "But as Bob Costas said to me when I interviewed him after the season, he said, 'You know, in many ways this is a more Cub-like ending.'"

The film, which will premiere June 12 at the Chicago Theatre, is called "We Believe," arguably the most detailed and ambitious of the Cubs documentaries that have been made to date. The words in the title will have to continue to carry the implied asterisk.

We Believe, In Spite of Everything.

We Believe, Though It Probably Would Be Easier If We Didn't.

We Believe, Aren't We the Fools?

Working at an editing company on North State Street, Scheinfeld -- who won acclaim for "The United States vs. John Lennon" -- has been cutting his movie since December and worrying, a little, about one question: "Given what happened in October," he says, "how do I end it in a way that people aren't going to want to go out and slit their wrists? I think I've found a way to do that."

He won't specify, except that he does plan to go out on Bruce Springsteen's "Land of Hope and Dreams." It surely helps that the film was never designed to be a season-in-the-life sports chronology. Instead, in the half-dozen segments I've seen during a couple of interviews, it plays like a valentine to the team, its city and the undeniably special relationship between the two, however maddening that may be to Sox fans.

"It's set against the landscape of the 2008 season, but it isn't really about that," Scheinfeld says.

So helicopters soar over Wrigley and Chicago. Cameras, which would gather more than 220 hours of footage, poke into the field's nooks and crannies. Vintage Cubs film gets new life. Frank Sinatra sings exactly the song you would expect, but, to Scheinfeld's credit, Ronnie Wicker and his exasperating wheeze will be nowhere in sight.

Bonnie Hunt talks about Chicago as "a giant Mayberry." George Will credits Chicagoans' capacity for optimism to their prairie location. Joe Mantegna wonders what would have happened if his parents had been Yankees fans instead.

To set it apart from previous Cubbie homages, there are also plenty of less well-known fans, local writers, the members of Cubs management who, along with Major League Baseball, approved the project. Scheinfeld interviews eight players -- Ryan Theriot, Mark DeRosa, Kerry Wood, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly and Kosuke Fukudome -- at various points during the year and gives each a sort of chapter.

And the filmmaker talked to Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis George, thinking he'd get some general thoughts on the nature of faith that he could tie to the Cubs in the editing room. Instead, he got the very specific thoughts of a lifelong Cubs fan who is, therefore, an expert on the subject twice over.

As he recounts that interview, in the same January week in which it took place, Scheinfeld has the glow of a man looking at a gold nugget in his pan:

"Cardinal George said it's not dissimilar to eschatological faith, which is sort of 'next year in Jerusalem.' It's sort of, 'Jesus will be coming back at one point.' He said, 'We know it's going to happen, but we don't know when.'"

In other words, wait till next year is as applicable in the pews as it is in the bleachers.

"We were skeptical at first," says Crane Kenney, the Cubs chairman. "John's first meeting with me, I just said, 'No way.' We took the position that we're not in the business of granting anyone access for movie efforts."

But Scheinfeld had local ties. He grew up in Highland Park to age 6, earned a master's degree from Northwestern's radio/television/film department. He and Kenney had friends in common. He had made, as the crowning project to date in a long career, the well-received Lennon film, and Kenney was impressed by the way Scheinfeld "developed Lennon as a full person, some negative, some positive, but certainly human."

The filmmaker wanted to make the movie in Chicago, working with local crews and a local editor, rather than be, as he says, "a Hollywood carpetbagger."

And he was persistent. Scheinfeld recalls pointing to a picture, mounted in Cubs offices, of early 20th Century Cubs fans in a tree trying to peer over the Wrigley wall. That's the feeling I want to capture, he told Kenney.

 

 



 

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

Biography
JOHN SCHEINFELD | Director/Writer/Producer

Emmy and Grammy nominee John Scheinfeld is a respected director, writer and producer of documentaries, bringing a broad spectrum of experiences and interests to pop culture, music, historical and spiritual projects for broadcast, cable and theatrical exhibition. Most notably, Scheinfeld directed, wrote and produced the feature film documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon. It was an official selection of the Venice Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival and was subsequently released in theaters worldwide and on DVD.

On the heels of a Grammy nomination for producing 2005’s Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of SMiLE, Scheinfeld directed, wrote and produced the feature-length documentary Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? The film had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and was also an official selection of the Seattle International Film Festival and Mods and Rockers Film Festival. The film will see worldwide distribution in 2010.

Scheinfeld is also completing production on Heaven, a compelling, inspiring and thought-provoking documentary film about how the world’s foremost religions view Heaven and how certain people/groups within those religions live their lives to get there. He also finished The Legendary Bing Crosby, a musical celebration of the iconic singer. The special premiered on public television stations across the country in February 2010 and will be distributed in international markets soon thereafter.

In partnership with David Leaf, Scheinfeld produced an 8-part/fourhour documentary, Norman Lear’s TV Revolution, distributed by Sony as well as a 5-part miniseries for BRAVO, The 100 Greatest Television Characters.

Previously, Scheinfeld wrote, produced and directed Electric Youth: Teen Stars in the Music Business, a 2-hour special for A&E for which he received an Emmy nomination as writer.

In addition, he wrote, produced and directed documentaries on the Bee Gees, Nat King Cole, Bob Hope, Norman Lear, Dean Martin, the Marx Brothers, Bette Midler, Ricky Nelson, Peter Sellers, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams and Jonathan Winters as well as the MYSTERIES series for TLC (Mysteries of The Sphinx, Mysteries Of Stonehenge and Mysteries Of Noah And The Flood and Mysteries Of Easter Island).

Biography
CHRISTOPHER CLAEYS | Editor and Producer

Christopher Claeys received his Bachelors Degree in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University. After graduating in 1977, Chris joined the post-production group at FilmFair/Chicago. In 1980, Chris joined Edit/Chicago, and in 1984, he partnered with Tim McGuire’ and his fledgling editorial company, Cutters Inc., where Chris has made his home ever since. Today, Chris is a Senior Editor/Senior Partner and Vice-President of Cutters, Inc.

A veteran commercial editor whose vast experience has him working in many genres (including comedy, comedy-dialogue, dialogue and storytelling commercials), Chris is often called upon to edit and postproduce large and/or complex spot packages that require a high degree of organization, coordination and guidance. He has played a significant role in building Cutters into an amorphous, collaborative group that keeps egos and politics in check. This methodology is visible from the top down.

Recent commercial work includes spots for Disney, Kellogg's, DiGiorno, Allstate, and Hallmark for director's such as: Tarsem, Kinka Usher, Gregor Nicholas, Neil Tardio Jr, and James Gartner. Over the course of his career, Chris has cut film for such notable directors as: Michael Bay, Martin Granger, Christopher Guest, Dan Levinson, Vadim Perelman, Rob Pritts, and Kevin Smith.

WE BELIEVE is the first feature length documentary edited by Chris and he was delighted to be working with long-time friends Rich Christian and John Scheinfeld.

Biography
RICHARD C. CHRISTIAN, Jr. | Director of Photography and Producerr

Rich Christian founded Sedgwick Productions in 1983. Having worked for Encyclopedia Britannica and Cablevision and the commercial production house Film Fair, Christian made Sedgwick Productions’ focus documentary films, as well as marketing films for advertising agencies, larger corporations, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. Sedgwick Productions provides services for Northwestern University, BP, United Stationers, and a host of other clients. Rich Christian is an award winning director and director of photography. His work has aired on PBS, The Discovery Channel, TLC, Super Station WGN, CNN, the BBC, and most recently the Big Ten Network. He has shot in nearly all of the 50 states, and in countries including China, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, and Canada.

Other recent work includes documentaries with the Experimental Aircraft Association for AirVenture, the world’s largest air show, which have aired on the Discovery Networks. This work has honored him with Telly Awards two years running. As a pilot, Rich also enjoys flying and aerial production, and has captured much of the skyline of Chicago. He directed and shot the award winning documentary Skyline Chicago, which was aired on PBS.

Ever since his work pursuing his MFA at Northwestern, Rich has understood the value of a team. He was thrilled to work with Director John Scheinfeld, and editor Chris Claeys, fellow students from Northwestern on WE BELIEVE. Both friends helped him in part with his thesis film on the Organic Theater Company, which included actors Joe Mantegna and Denis Franz in 1977.

Rich is married to Circuit Court of Chicago Judge Debra Walker. His oldest son Dan Christian is studying photography at Minneapolis College for Art and Design. Rich and Debra have 2 children, Colleen, 7, and Carlton, 5.

Biography
TIM MCGUIRE | Producer

Cutters, Inc. President and Founder Tim McGuire graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He began his career in the film business as a gofer, worked his way up the ranks, and eventually found his niche as an editor. Tim worked at two film editorial companies, The Film Place and The Reel Thing before opening Cutters in 1980. The fledgling company quickly worked on several high profile campaigns for DDB/CHICAGO, whose client base included Anheuser Busch, McDonald’s, Wheaties, Shasta, and Helene Curtis, just to name a few. Among Tim’s most memorable spot projects are the Wheaties “What the Big Boys Eat” campaign, Shasta’s “I Want a Pop” campaign and McDonald’s “First Light.” The Wheaties and Shasta campaigns earned Tim a Clio, and he was honored with a Cannes Lion for his work with McDonald’s.

By 2001, the Cutters family of companies had grown to include SOL/design and Another Country audio, rounding out the full spectrum of post-production services. Tim left editing to assume a full-time role overseeing the growth of all three companies, including expanding Cutters into the Los Angeles marketplace. In the fall of 2008 the company opened Dictionary Films a production company to complete their circle of services. As can be seen in all of Tim’s endeavors, it’s his passion that drives him, and it’s passion that fuels every element of Cutters.

 


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